An African jewel destroyed – Zimbabwe’s ruin

Shaun Matsheza’s article is a citizen’s lamentation of Zimbabwe’s ruin; from the jewel of Africa to a dysfunctional state.

Did Mugabe ruin Zimbabwe?
Photo credit: The Chronicle

This image. It is propaganda. This image is a reality check. A cheque for a reality that we are yet to cash in. This can’t be it, has to be a dream, has to be a nightmare from which we will all wake up one day, to realize we have been in a collective phantasm, a mass hysteria.

Today is 19 April 1980. We are only a day into it….


Handover of the jewel of Africa: Robert Mugabe, Load Soames & Prince Charles (1980)

Before Zimbabwe’s ruin

Visions of first street so spic and span, lush luxury Salisbury gardens, buses that run on time, sultry scent of jacaranda so sweet. Asphalt road, stretching into the distance, symbol of the future in front of the country, boundless into the horizon. A future waiting simply to NOT be messed up.

Here are the keys Robert, here is this jewel. Here’s the wheel, drive it to where it has to go. The destination is far, far, faint like a speck, a grain of wheat on the horizon, but you have the map, you’ve seen the pitfalls of national consciousness that could lead you off a cliff. Lead with your heart, keep it together, don’t let things fall apart.

Before Zimbabwe’s ruin: efficient public transport, well-maintained roads

Your people are seen as the wretched of the earth, but you, you are the arrow of god that shall lead them in the right direction, pull them from the brink of death, grant them the dignity and hope they need to take their rightful place in the communion of nations.

When the beautiful ones are born, let them know no nervous conditions. Water this dry land, and make it fertile beyond compare. Here; the keys Robert. You, a man of the people, take them.

This image, of nation torn asunder, depleted by plunder, it cannot be real, it arouses my wonder, is phantasmagoria, engenders deep-seated pain and nostalgia, highlights a present thorny like the bones of the tilapia, a present that grows progressively dimmer and dimmer, a present that is such a contrast to that bygone era.

Is Zimbabwe’s ruin all Western propaganda?

This image is a lie. Has to be.

It’s all information wars, fake news, it is social media, it is crude jokes to which we chuckle as we ride our first-hand vehicles to our two million jobs. He is a liar who describes sobs, who describes people who wade through sewage-flooded potholes on their way to the trenches. He is a liar who talks of people who slave away all day just to afford sadza and matemba.

We will fight against these lies, woven by enemies of the state, snake oil salesmen and medicine men, prophets of doom, who try to convince us that we hunger, yet we obviously wallow in plenty.

The beautiful ones are not yet born, but the free are: “Free” to fulfill the dreams of their fathers, who toiled under the sweltering heat to create this, this jewel.

Born free to fulfill the dreams of their mothers, who gave their last drop of sustenance in favour of the future, suckled them from powdery dry tits, so they could be born free to fulfill the dreams of the heroes, whose bones lie buried in mine shafts, never to testify to the supreme sacrifice, never to enjoy the fruits of their suffering…

Their bones never again to see the light of day.

Perhaps the beautiful ones are born, who carry the dreams of a continent newly liberated. But they walk down the famished road, which is ridden with potholes, and their hope lies in tatters like the wings of a butterfly burning.


“(…) even where we think there is no hope, we can always hope we are wrong” – David Graeber